British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary assessment methods for intakes of iron, calcium, selenium, zinc and iodine

Lluis Serra-Majema1a2 c1, Karina Pfrimera1a3, Jorge Doreste-Alonsoa1, Lourdes Ribas-Barbaa2, Almudena Sánchez-Villegasa1, Adriana Ortiz-Andrellucchia1 and Patricia Henríquez-Sáncheza1

a1 Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, PO Box 550, 35080 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

a2 Community Nutrition Research Centre of the Nutrition Research Foundation, University of Barcelona Science Park, Baldiri Reixac 4-8, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

a3 Division of General Internal and Geriatric Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Avenida Bandeirantes 3900, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil


The EURopean micronutrient RECommendations Aligned (EURRECA) Network of Excellence is working towards developing aligned micronutrient recommendations across Europe. The purpose of the present study was to conduct a review of methods used in validation studies carried out in adults assessing dietary intake of EURRECA priority minerals. A search strategy and inclusion criteria were defined and a scoring system was developed to rate the quality of each validation study that produced a quality index with possible scores obtained ranging from 0·5 to 7. A MEDLINE and EMBASE literature review was conducted. Articles/validation studies meeting the inclusion criteria included: 79/88 for Fe; 95/104 for Ca; 13/15 for Se; 29/30 for Zn; 7/9 for iodine. The most frequently used method to ascertain dietary intake was the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), whereas dietary records (DR) and 24 h recalls were the most used reference methods. The correlation coefficients (CC) between study mineral intakes estimated by FFQ and the reference method were weighted according to the study's quality index and obtained acceptable to good ratings, ranging from 0·36 to 0·60 when the reference method was DR and from 0·41 to 0·58 when the reference was 24 h recalls. A minority of studies (n 9) used biomarkers for validation and among these, five included iodine obtaining a CC of 0·47. The FFQ was seen as a valid method for assessing mineral intake, particularly for Ca and, to a lower extent, for iodine and Zn. Se and Fe showed only acceptable correlations. The present review provides new insights regarding the characteristics that assessment methods for dietary mineral intakes should fulfil.

(Received June 15 2009)

(Revised October 02 2009)

(Accepted November 01 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Lluis Serra-Majem, fax +34928453475, email


On behalf of EURRECA's RA.1.1 ‘Intake Methods’ members: Serra-Majem L (Coordinator), Cavelaars A, De Groot L, De Vries J, Dhonukshe-Rutten R, Doreste JL, Frost-Andersen L, García-Álvarez A, Glibetic M, Gurinovic M, Henríquez-Sánchez P, Naska A, Ngo J, Novakovic R, Ortiz-Andrellucchi A, Øverby NC, Pijls L, Ranic M, Ribas-Barba L, Ristic-Medic D, Román-Viñas B, Ruprich J, Saavedra-Santana P, Sánchez-Villegas A, Tabacci G, Tepsic J, Trichopoulou A, Van 't Veer P, Vucic V, Wijnhoven TMA.

Abbreviations: CC, correlation coefficients; DR, dietary records; 24HR, 24 h recalls; UIE, urinary iodine excretion